The contributions to ACE III are diverse in form and theme. As a composite picture the collection represents an expansive vision for short-form writing. We include work by authors from diverse cultural and geographical locations, including – Australia: Gadigal Country, Dharawal Country, Wodi Wodi Country, Wurundjeri land, Naarm, Jinibara Country, Whadjuk Country, Turrbal & Yuggera land, Ngunnawal Country, as well as Dallas (USA), Mexico City, Greece, Norway, Tbilisi: Georgia, NYC, Chennai: India, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.
The authors examine the conundrum and contradiction of human experience through carefully crafted detail. The brevity of short-form writing makes it an apt vessel for capturing the haunting incompleteness of human experience. Through flash and traditional length short stories, creative nonfiction, memoir, and hybrid forms, there is a compelling ebb and tow of ideas, as focalised through highly idiosyncratic registers. The authors cultivate narrative detail with intuitive hands and minds, fashioning abstracted realities that linger well beyond the final lines of the text. The contributions leave the reader reeling, asking how it is possible that story-work can enter our affect cycle as if it were lived experience.
The dictionary defines consumption as both the ‘use of a resource’ and ‘a wasting disease’. This collection explores the different acts of self consumption a person can go through—sacrifice and selfishness, defeat and hubris. It’s an unpacking of guilt for making the wrong choices; for contradictory compulsions; for complicity.
The latest collection from Benjamin Dodds interprets the bizarre true story of Lucy, a chimpanzee raised as the ‘daughter’ of Oklahoma psychotherapist Dr Maurice Temerlin during the 1960s and 70s. With deep empathy and an eye for subtle, telling moments, Dodds oﬀers a complex reimagination of Lucy’s fraught hybrid life through unﬂinching poems that fascinate and unsettle in equal measure.
Whether in the Venetian footsteps of Vivaldi, at the birth of the Owen and Sassoon violins or the score of a Sam Peckinpah film, these poems present a wealth of musical scenarios, all interconnected in their themes, tonality and form. Their reverberations reach across time and space, from England and Italy to the Australian outback, with the visual arts also in the mix. And yet the core of this book is deeply personal, the poet present as a ten-year-old boy, lover, grandfather – or anachronistic witness – at the various trials of life through which creativity and even humour somehow flourishes.
True to its title, the poems in O’Hagan’s second poetry collection, Anamnesis, allude to a world hovering at the edges of our minds, one that can be sensed and yet lies, teasingly, just beyond conscious reach. The arc of poems through time and distance represents a summoning up of, and immersion in, small moments which reveal themselves to be quietly momentous; a distillation of personal experience from which we feel there is something to be collectively gleaned. The recovery of memory in its various facets is explored, and the poetry that emerges is both poignant and lyrical.
Finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Award (US) (Poetry Category), 2023.
Shortlisted in the Rubery Book Award (UK) (Poetry Category), 2023’
In Animals with Human Voices you will find worms that dream of god, jellyfish weary of immortality, a powerless Superman, some illogical observations on aliens’, a lightning conductor tired of lightning and the truth about Elvis. In multi award-winning poet Damen O’Brien’s debut collection, his cinematic eye and love of nature deliver poems which are ciphers for the normal concerns of every human: love, life and death and what we leave behind.
It’s the 1970s and 1980s, and Sandra Renew, a young lesbian activist in Far North Queensland, is involved in some of the most politically charged moments in Australian history. From Pine Gap to civil rights marches in Queensland to the first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and beyond, Apostles of Anarchy juxtaposes newspaper headlines and archival material with the personal experience of these struggles. It asks what it is to fight for the acceptance of difference in a discourse of prejudice and hostility.
Beginning in Sight is Theodore Ell’s first poetry collection. It brings together work written over more than ten years, tapping into the memories, life-stories and mirror-images that resist time and recouple bygone experience to the drifting world of today. The poems branch out from Ell’s original home of Sydney into its hinterland, the coast and the Hunter, snatching moments of respite and pleasure in troubled times, before finding new bearings in the Canberra region. Haunted by the presence of vanished lives and histories, these are poems of perseverance, endurance and a past that seems to know what is coming.
In 1778, Dorothy Wordsworth’s mother died, and the six-year-old Dorothy was sent to live with extended family. She never returned to the family home, and it was not until adolescence that Dorothy became reacquainted with her brother William. The two formed an intense and passionate emotional bond. By 1794 they were living together from that time would rarely be physically separated for more than a few weeks at a time, for the rest of their lives.
Written in the voice of Dorothy, Beloved traces the progression of their relationship, from the ecstatic infatuation of youth onwards, drawing upon Dorothy’s diaries and letters as well as the recollections of friends and family members and literary and biographical scholarship.
Borderless presents a collection of brand new, specially commissioned poems from a wide range of contemporary poets refl ecting on feminism in its broadest sense. While it builds on the work of previous anthologies, in this one the voices of First Nations, refugee and migrant poets are a deliberate focus. These poems plunge the reader deep into the experience of life in the world, at this moment, in a woman’s body, and explore multitudinous versions of what that can mean.
Edited by Saba Vasefi, Melinda Smith and Yvette Holt
This latest project of ‘authorised theft’ amongst poetic friends sees them raiding the 19th century for inspiration—across a variety of artforms. But C19 here is not just a past century; it is also the terrible present moment in which we live, and in which this remarkable collaborative work has been written.
Throughout his forties and fifties Phillip found himself on a sticky wicket: the grief for his baby son and younger brothers, suicide attempts, self-harming, the premature termination of his career, and the failure of religious belief to explain or console. In and out of psychiatric care, he has been treated for PTSD, severe depression and social anxiety. There are consolations: family, companion greyhounds, Sunshine, the Western Bulldogs and Australian Football, books, the fine and performing arts but, for Phillip, this remains a time of loss and despair. This is, therefore, a collection of lamentations, achingly focused on what it is to live with poor mental health, but it is also a defiant celebration of survival and the redeeming power of familial love, sport and the arts.
Care Stop is Sarah Rice’s poetic and photographic reflection on the vagaries of homelessness and the topography of empathy. The book begins with the poem ‘Care Stop’ and is followed by a series of altered images featuring the iconic ACT bus stop shelter. Care Stop is produced in a limited edition, and is proudly supported by artsACT.
You lead me through strange geographies. You say, up here the tide cannot drown our sandwiches.
Es Foong’s debut collection explores the strange geographies of belonging: to family, gender, culture and oneself. It ponders boundaries; the predicament of needing to assert them even as they cause pain and separation. It explores influences on identity and the fault-lines of trauma, how these are woven into our bodies. It sees the power and the possibility of the pause – as breath, silence, a poem’s whitespace – and as an alternative way of being, survival and love.
For over a decade, international poets Alvin Pang (Singapore) and George Szirtes (UK) have met time and again—as friends and fellow wordsmiths on page and stage—until the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Confined to different sides of the globe, they began to write poems back and forth in response to one another. Reflecting on the circumstances in which we find ourselves living, the two poets dance in language through questions of life and time, with the world teetering from Covid through Black Lives Matters and Brexit to the Ukraine conflict.
2021 is the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, author of the long narrative poetic trilogy, The Divine Comedy. In a time of global pandemic, Dante’s exploration of the relationship between the physical and spiritual worlds and humankind’s responsibilities to each other seems particularly relevant, and to commemorate Dante’s anniversary we invited 70 poets from around the world to respond to Dante’s famous work, assisted by a team of seven contributing editors: Paul Munden (UK), Nessa O’Mahony (Ireland), Paul Hetherington (Australia), Alvin Pang (Singapore), Priya Sarukkai Chabria (India), Moira Egan (Italy) and David Fenza (US).
Edited by Paul Munden and Nessa O’Mahony.
The free online version of Divining Dante is now available here.